Clinical Education

Clinical Education Vision: To meet the physical rehabilitation needs of the people of Minnesota and beyond by engaging physical therapy students in diverse and dynamic clinical experiences. Students have exciting opportunities to engage in collaborative, experiential learning in a variety of physical therapy settings.

Key Factors

Physical therapy students at white coat ceremony.
  • Longstanding relationships with many clinics across the United States
  • Wide range of clinical experiences geographically (local, national, international) and demographically (rural, urban, small town, large city)
  • Specialty internship offerings in women's health, chronic pain, research, and sports
  • Opportunity for students to select, by rank, their preferences for clinical education placements
  • International clinical experiences in Italy, Tanzania, Brazil, and Ecuador


Integrated and Full-Time Clinical Experiences 

  • 1ST YEAR - CLERKSHIP
  • 2ND YEAR - CLERKSHIP
  • 3RD YEAR - FULL-TIME EXPERIENCES
  • 1ST YEAR - CLERKSHIP

    Each student will complete a three-hour/week clinical clerkship at two long-term care sites during the fall and spring semester of the first year. This learning experience is under the direct supervision of experienced University of Minnesota associated faculty and provides students with the opportunity to combine theoretical and practical skills through mentored experiences with geriatric patients, clinical presentations/discussions entitled "Patient of the Week," and assignments related to their concurrent, didactic coursework. 

    PT 6213 and PT 6214

  • 2ND YEAR - CLERKSHIP

    The purpose of the fall semester second-year clerkship experience is designed to familiarize the student with evaluation and implementation of physical therapy in the orthopedic outpatient setting. During this clerkship, pairs of students are assigned to a clinical instructor in an outpatient orthopedic clinic in the community. Students participate in patient evaluations and treatments, and complete assignments in conjunction with the didactic coursework provided concurrently in PT 6283/6284 Musculoskeletal I and II.

    The second objective of the second-year fall semester clerkship is to familiarize the student with the role of a physical therapist as a promoter of health and wellness, as well as exposing student to health disparities in urban, rural and global health settings. Students work under the guidance of a community liaison on group service-learning projects designed to assist an underserved community. 

    During the spring semester, the second-year clerkship is designed to familiarize the student with the role of the physical therapist in a neuro-rehabilitation setting. Student pairs are assigned to one clinical instructor at a local hospital or rehabilitation center where they will observe, perform evaluations and practice treatment skills learned in their concurrent Neuro-rehabilitation I coursework (PT 6287). The remaining objective of the second-year spring semester clerkship is to expose DPT students to the legislative issues affecting the profession of Physical Therapy through participation in the MN APTA Legislative Day and to also familiarize DPT students with adjustment issues in relation to disability.

    PT 6215 and PT 6216

  • 3RD YEAR - FULL-TIME EXPERIENCES

    During the third and final year, DPT students must successfully complete four, full-time clinical experiences totaling 40 weeks. Within the context of the full-time Clinical Experiences, students must gain experience (at least 50 percent of caseload) in the following areas: Acute Care and Neuro-Rehabilitation. One of the four full-time clinical experiences must be in an outpatient orthopedic setting. During full-time Clinical Experiences, students are supervised by a designated Clinical Instructor (CI) and participate in direct patient care, administration, management and supervision, education and consultation. Currently, the program maintains over 350 active contracts with clinical sites.

    PT 6295, PT 6296, PT 6297 and PT 6298

International Experiences

Physical therapy student's international experience with faculty.

In response to an increased interest in international opportunities for Doctor of Physical Therapy students and the University of Minnesota's commitment to better prepare individuals to participate in global health initiatives, the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program has developed International Experiences that allow for diverse experiences in global health care and physical therapy. International Experiences are available only during the last spring semester of the third year. 

Current site locations include Brazil, Ecuador, Italy, and Tanzania.

Clinical Educator Resources

Access to clinical education resources is available through EXXAT. The annual Clinical Education Connection newsletter is another great source of information. For additional details, please contact Maureen Boxrud at brown029@umn.edu.

Designated Clinical Mentor

The University of Minnesota Doctor of Physical Therapy program is grateful to our community of clinical partners for their ongoing support in educating our future Physical Therapist colleagues.

We are proud to acknowledge our most consistent and collaborative individual clinical instructors with the honorary title of Designated Clinical Mentor. These individuals host between 4 and 8 full-time University of Minnesota DPT students per calendar year, providing excellent professional training and role modeling and earning positive student reviews. Please see the bios below.

Dan Kirkpatrick, PT, DPT

Dan Kirkpatrick

Dan completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities in kinesiology and coaching prior to pursuing his doctorate of physical therapy (DPT) degree from Regis University in Denver, CO. Dan has a broad background in both orthopedic and neurologic conditions, having practiced extensively in both settings. He has been with STEP Therapies for the last 8 years and is currently the Director of Orthopedics there. He has strong professional interests in anatomy and neuroscience, manual therapy, dry needling, corrective exercise and pain science. He has pursued significant education and specialization in the performance of dry needling and has received his advanced certification.

Dan also has a very strong interest in education and academics and seeks to advance his ability to help, teach and mentor students. Dan thoroughly enjoys and appreciates the opportunity to host and mentor UMN DPT students as part of their clinical education in order to advance their knowledge and skills, maximize their potential and help create successful therapists.

STEP PHYSICAL THERAPY, INC

Eric Andersen, PT, DPT

Physical Therapist Eric AndersenEric graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy and a B.S. in Kinesiology from the University of Wisconsin. He has been an acute care therapist for 8 years working at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center and currently the University of Minnesota Medical Center with Fairview Health. His primary focus has been in the intensive care units (ICU). He is currently a Clinical Specialist within Fairview focusing on the medically complex patient. Eric has given lectures on Early Mobility in the ICU as well as attended the John Hopkins Early Mobility conference. He also assisted in the creation of a comprehensive ICU orientation program for therapists. Eric's research focus is the early mobilization of patients undergoing extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO).

MHealth Fairview

Ryan Olmscheid, PT, DPT, OCS

Headshot of Ryan Olmscheid

Ryan completed his undergraduate degree from Southwest Minnesota State University in Biology. He later completed his Doctor of Physical therapy training through the Mayo School of Health Sciences. He is a Board Certified Orthopedic Specialist since 2010. Ryan has been a member of the Minnesota American Physical Therapy Association Research Committee since 2013. He has presented locally on the management of cervicogenic headaches, treatment of thoracic dysfunctions, implementing clinical practice guidelines and clinical prediction rules into clinical practice, and using a risk management approach for the treatment of low back pain.

Ryan is the clinic supervisor of the Institute for Athletic Medicine clinic in Elk River, MN. The Institute for Athletic Medicine provides physical therapy services for general orthopedic conditions. Ryan provides specialized treatments for injuries related to throwing, running, and gymnastics/dance.

Ryan has had the pleasure of working with many students. He has a strong desire to help new and seasoned therapists to improve their clinical reasoning skills and treatment abilities to maximize outcomes in the realm of physical therapy.

Institute for Athletic Medicine